Massage As An Alternative Against Headaches

Most people have already or will experience a headache in their lifetime. There are infinitive causes for them, such as stress, long-term poor posture, dehydration, sinus issues, rhinitis, poor diet, lack of sleep, prolonged exposure to blue light, vision issues etc.  The most common type of headache is a tension headache. It can cause mild, moderate or intense pain behind the eyes, in the neck and head.

It is usually caused by tightness in the muscles around neck, under the skull, on the face and head. Approximately 75 percent of headaches are believed to arise from tension on trapezius, levator scapula, masseter, sternocleidomastoid, and rhomboid.

The most common forms of muscle tension-induced headaches are:

1. Pain Behind The Eyes, Above The Temples, Sensation Of Heaviness Like You Are Wearing A Helmet

This may be due to a tight trapezius, or the upper shoulder muscle. Another muscle that we need to look at is the levator scapula. It runs from the base of our skull to the superior angle of the scapula (shoulder blade). It can involve an effective trigger point that radiates headaches. Desk workers are more likely to get tight muscles in this area, due to long hours in front of a screen with bad posture. 

2. Pain On Or Around The Face

The muscles that are likely to give this kind of headache are the sternocleidomastoid. This muscle is linked to the sternum (breast bone), clavicle (collar bone) and mastoid (jaw) and is responsible for moving the head and flexing the neck. It also involves the sub-occipital muscles, in the base of our skull. It can be an over active muscle or stress trigger point that reduces or prevents blood circulation in the neck and tightens this area creating pain.

3. Pain On The Temples And Above The Eyes

This area may be affected due to bruxism (teeth grinding) or stress. The muscles that could be tight in this instance are the muscles that assist in chewing you food – The masseter, the jaw muscle, and/or  the temporalis on the temples. A good massage can relieve the tension in those muscles, and also helps to alleviate mental pressure such as stress and anxiety.

Most people seek alternative therapy, such as massage, which has a relaxing effect on the body and releases tension in the muscles influencing headache’s.

A treatment session for 30 minutes can have the same effect on headache relief as painkillers. These pills are a quick fix. They only make the pain go away and do not address the cause.  Regular massage releases the tightness that is causing the headache, and also helps to treat it. Keep in mind: treating the pain is not treating the cause, and ignoring the cause creates a cycle of pain.

Once treated, it is very important to identify the causes of the tension headache to prevent it from coming back in the future. If you do suffer from it quite often, we recommend you to pay attention on which activities, foods, drinks or situations manifest it and adjust your lifestyle to avoid the triggers (where possible).

It is very rare that a headache on its own is a symptom of a very serious condition. If you have recurring headaches that accompany other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity and aren’t prone to migraines, always seek medical advice to find out what the underlying causes are.

Written by Isabella

Isabella is a graduated Physiotherapist back in Brazil and has Diploma in Remedial Massage in Australia. She has been working in the industry with Chiropractors and Physios for over 2 years, where she has been able to develop her skills in Remedial, Sports and Swedish massage. She has always been passionate about how powerful the human body is and how it can heal itself.

Isabella’s specialties:

– Relaxation Massage
– Deep Tissue
– Remedial Massage
– Sports Massage
– Pregnancy Massage

To book in with Isabella call 0420 644 852 or click here.

pHClinic Team

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